The scenery gateway has made a lot of difference to x-plane in recent years. It relies a lot on automatically generated scenery from open data sources and it used to be that the scenery was pretty bland and monotonous. Autogen scenery actually works quite well these days but it doesn't generate airport buildings. Since they introduced the scenery gateway essentially all major airports are now covered out of the box and many of the smaller ones as well. This means you get terminal buildings, signs, taxi ways, etc. for over 8K airports world wide (last number I heard, probably more by now).
V2. supposedly makes it a lot easier to add missing airports by integrating external maps and satellite imagery to make it easier to position objects correctly. So, it will likely result in even more and improved airports.
I've been a long time x-plane user (since v8) and it's a great ecosystem to be in these days. As of v11, they've ramped up development a lot and managed to attract a lot of commercial add on developers (essentially most of the big ones that also target FS X/p3d). Awesome product and it keeps on getting better with each release.
With this and some free add-ons from x-plane.org, you can get a really nice flight simulation experience for just the price of the base simulator. I have generated several hundreds of GB of photo textures (using ortho4xP) and I've also installed some scenery packages from e.g. simheaven.com to generate detailed 3d scenery from open streetmaps. Getting the same kind of experience on competing products is possible but will cost you an arm and a leg.
I've been following flightgear for years as well and I want to like it but it is just not in the same league.
This is not the case at all. The flight model is pretty good. The bundled aircraft may not be as good. But is that really a surprise?
There are many third party vendors with realistic aircraft. Try Airfoilab's Cessna 172, or Zibo Mod (free) for the 737, to name two.
What I learned is that flight simulators can be a huge benefit. I basically learned everything in the simulator that I was later taught in the ground school of a private pilot course (which made those hours really boring haha!). You can learn weather, instruments, aircraft systems, etc.
The one thing that is really hard to grasp however from a simulator is the feel of flying an aircraft. I had a horrible habit of overcontrolling the aircraft - and it was the direct result of my many hours of flight sim experience. Even when using force feedback joysticks, etc.. there is still going to be quite a learning curve in a real plane.
So enjoy the flight simulators. But in my opinion I wouldn't get to concerned about how realistic the flight mechanics are. Because they are the least important thing you'd learn from a flight simulator. But that is just my opinion.
I have observed that experienced pilots do reasonably well at following the towplane on the simulator even with no simulator experience at all. So it isn't just that it is different. There is something else going on there.
As for X-Plane itself, Austin Meyer doesn't seem to have lost his old modeling habits, which sometimes infuriate flight simmers. Remember when he read a book on ground physics and all the wheels and braking were messed up? Now he has mentioned in a live FAQ session that they do HDR lighting "the right way" and that's the reason why cockpits are so dark in relation to the outside...
I've often wondered if making XPlane addons might be one of the easiest and most profitable side projects out there.
Disclaimer: I am not a security expert and I do not take any responsibility for my opinion - it is up to you to verify if it is free of any malicious code.
I agree, this definitely doesn't look good. If I were you I'd uninstall this obviously broken antivirus software.
(And I know this with high confidence because I do schedule weekly full disk scans on my computers and NAS and they haven't ever found a damn thing that wasn't a false positive or a fake-positive.)